The Value of Work

Out of the readings we had this week, Digging by Andre Dubus resonated with me the most. While reading this essay, I couldn’t help but think of my father. I had a similar relationship to my dad as Dubus did with his father. Dubus states, “I was afraid of angering him, seeing his blue eyes, and reddening face, hearing the words he would use to rebuke me; but what I feared the most was his voice, suddenly and harshly rising” (73). This statement reminds me of how my dad screams at me. His eyes are usually blue, but then he’s angry, they change color from blue to green. When you see his green eyes, it’s a warning sign and you should probably run away from him. The last time I got screamed at by him was when I had a house party. He was mad at the fact that I went behind their backs and had people over. He found a cigarette outside the garage and when he asked me who’s been smoking, I lied and said I don’t know. He was even more mad at the fact that I lied to him. I know now it’s better to just say the truth, no matter how bad it may be, than lie. His screaming affects me so much, I usually end up shaking and crying. I don’t like disappointing him. I would never dare to speak back to him like some other kids do to their parents. He has always been really strict with me and my brother. I feel like I’m always living in fear of doing something wrong and having him scream at me. At school, I have so much more freedom, but there is still the constant pressure of getting good grades to please my dad. He’s made me really care about school and my grades. He took away the television when I was little so I was forced to do homework or do something productive. Because of this, I never watch TV and either study or do homework instead.
My dad wanted to make sure my brother and I were hard workers. He made us get jobs when we were sixteen and this is when I started working at public pools as a lifeguard. I had to earn my own money and pay for my own gas money. This made me value money more because I know I had to work for it. Dubus’ dad also instilled in him the value of working for your own money. I related to Dubus and how torturous the sun can be and how “the air was very humid, and sweat dripped on my face and arms…sometimes I saw tiny black spots before my eyes” (76). Standing up on the edge of a pool for seven hours a day can be very exhausting when you have no protection from the beating sun. It’s easy to get overheated. I usually would jump in the pool to cool off, but at times, I felt like I was going to pass out. There were many times I wanted to quit and have a normal summer hanging out with friends and going to the beach, but my dad wouldn’t allow it just like how Dubus’ dad made him go back to work instead of taking him home. I’m thankful that my dad made me get a job. It was hard work but it made me realize the value in money and made me not take things for granted. If he had let me quit, I probably would be a spoiled brat.
I could also relate to the bond Dubus created with his coworkers. They all were going through the same pain and long exhausting days. Even though they were black and Dubus was white, they welcomed him and looked out for him. Dubus found himself hanging out with all the black people during breaks and thought “that we were friends…we were the men and the boys with picks and shovels on the trench” (79-80). I felt the same way about my crew at my job. We ran the place and had to take care of all the problems that arose during the day including rude people and cleaning the bathrooms. We also made sure to leave as a team at the end of the day. There was a sensation of accomplishment at the end of the summer. I think Dubus felt the same way stating “I had worked as hard as I could, I was part of the trench, it was part of me, and it was finished…someone should have blown a bugle”(80). He put so much effort into this project and now that it was finally done, he wanted to celebrate. I feel like this is a bittersweet moment. You’re done with that work but you leave the people you have just worked with everyday.

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1 Response to The Value of Work

  1. roshnisondhi says:

    I feel that your father did a great job raising you up. Although your dad was really strict, it did make you value hard work. I have known you for a year now and I can say that you are one of the most hardworking person I have ever met. You always prioritize your work which I find really hard to do.
    My dad is more strict with my brother than me. However, my mom is strict. While working with her after I graduated from college, she made sure that I did all the work and did not treat me differently. I really appreciate that as it made me more discipline and hardworking

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